You know the word ‘interview’? It originally meant “to see each other”.
These days it’s become a bit more one-sided than that. Instead of that equal idea of two people seeing each other – checking each other out to work out if there’s a good fit – we’ve let the interview morph into a situation where one side has all the power, and the other is left sort of hopping from foot to foot nervously.
Nowadays it’s more about candidates putting on a snappy suit and trying to convince the hiring manager that they’re right for the job. But really, you’re there to interview them, as much as they’re there to interview you. You don’t just want any job: you want a job that you’re going to happily excel in.
That means you should be walking into interviews armed with questions for your interviewer. Things that’ll help you understand who they are, what the company is about and whether you actually want to work there.
It also doesn’t hurt that asking interested, interesting questions will give you the edge – you’ll stand out as someone who cares about doing a good job, and that you’ve homework.
So, when at the end of the meeting, they ask “do you have any questions?” that’s your chance to find out whether you even want this job or not. We’ve jotted down a list of the top questions we love seeing candidates ask in interviews. You don’t have to ask all of these, or even any of them – you might have dreamed up something else you really care about and want to know. But use these as a starting point. Have a think about which ones feel the most important to you and make sure you go in armed with those.
- How would you describe this company’s culture?
Make sure you prep some follow up questions for this one. Many people won’t know how to explain things off the top of their head. They’ll say vague things like “friendly”. Ask questions about how long people stay at the company, how long people genereally spend at the office and much time people tend to spend hanging out together outside of work.
- What do you like about working here?
Hopefully you’ll get answers about the interesting work or shared values. Other answers – or lack of answers – will be telling too.
- What things does this company do to encourage learning or development?
This is a biggy – not just because training is such an important part of growing in your career, but because it shows how much the company is willing to invest in their people.
- What do most people here do on their lunch breaks?
This gives you clues about the social life in the office. Also, if they look at your blankly and say something like “lunchbreak? watchu talkin’ ’bout willis?!”, that’s a warning bell of both a really intense working culture and terrible taste in pop-culture references.
- What are some of the biggest challenges facing the team at the moment?
This gives the hiring manager a chance to be a bit more honest with you than a job ad. Listen for the way they attribute any challenges – if there’s a whiff that the manager blames his or her staff, that’s a massive red flag.
- What was the biggest thing the team achieved last year? Any awards or big projects they’re proud of?
This is a great follow up question to the one above. It gives you a good insight into how the company recognizes and celebrates wins.
- How do you evaluate employee performance? How do you decide if I’m winning or not?
Performance evaluations are actually a positive thing for the employee – if you’re killing it, it gives you the chance to start conversations about pay-rises and more opportunities. If you’re having a hard time of it, it allows you and your manager to take an objective view of the situation, so you can find solutions together. Having a process in place shows that the company recognises their role in helping their people excel.
If you’re interested in candidates getting a better idea of your culture before the interview even starts, give Weirdly a go. A free trial takes just 30secs to set up.